Does Enhanced Content Matter in E-tailing’s Customer Experience Index?

When Lauren Freedman talks to online retailers about improving customer experience, she always brings up the importance of the product page.

“The product page is the most crucial point of the shopping experience and I think it deserves more TLC in terms of everything from the copy to the imagery to the rich media that supports it,” Freedman, founder of the e-tailing group, said in an interview with content26.

We were discussing the e-tailing group’s annual Customer Experience Index, which ranks companies according to a wide range of factors, including the product page. L.L. Bean topped the index this year with other big names such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target finishing in the top 10.

The Product Page “Deserves More TLC”

To score at the top of the Customer Experience Index, retailers had to offer good site search, compelling promotions, fast mobile browsing, an effective social media strategy, and exemplary customer service.Online competition for customers is fierce. Enhanced content can help.

And they had to pay attention to their product page. This year, 89 percent of retailers studied by the e-tailing group have ratings and reviews on their product pages. Nearly all sites (91 percent) had invested in product images with zoom capabilities and a large number (72 percent) also had product videos.

“The product page is the guts of the site from the decision-making point of view. That’s where the rubber meets the road,” Lauren notes. “If you don’t have all the information you need on product page, you’re in trouble because customers will go elsewhere.”

How Much Information Do Consumers Need?

The index didn’t look at whether retailers offer written enhanced content because best practices vary so much by category. For example, you need a different level of information to sell a Lycra tank top than a laptop.

Retailers who are the most successful understand what level of information is required for the customer to buy with confidence, and then they deliver exactly what customers need, Freedman said.

“More is not necessarily always better when it comes to product-page content,” she notes. “It’s always about the execution of that content.”

A Multichannel Strategy Includes Site Authority

For many manufacturers, content becomes a bit of a juggling act. Brands such as HP or Lenovo need to provide great content to retail partners such as Best Buy or Amazon. But they’re also selling direct, which means “they need to be the authority and have the most content and the deepest level of information,” Freedman notes.

The Customer Experience Index does not differentiate between manufacturer and retailer sites. And Freedman said she’s seen product pages become fairly standardized across each category, regardless of where the information is showing up.

In our opinion, the product page is a place where manufacturers can shine. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to bundle together a product description, product imagery, and a product video. If brands want to showcase their products on their own websites, they can focus on designing beautiful enhanced product pages.

But at the same time, manufacturers shouldn’t ignore the needs of their most important retail channels. Since each retailer is different, it makes sense to come up with a multichannel approach that delivers the right content in the right format to the right retailers.

Read more about the study in the e-tailing group press release.

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